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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Why It Was the Most Underrated MCU Phase 4 Project

There were a ton of questions surrounding the Marvel Cinematic Universe following the epic conclusion that was Endgame. After such a mythological showdown that marked the culmination of over a decade of world-building and origin stories, how could the MCU possibly continue their dominant run in a way that would both live up to their own lofty standards while not taking the stakes too far to an outlandish or cartoonish level? Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige decided to take a reprieve from the silver screen for a while, and let the ramifications of Endgame breathe. Instead, Phase 4 offered the MCU the perfect opportunity to claim its stake into television and streaming.

Before Phase 4’s first film, Black Widow, hit theaters, three shows had already been released on Disney+: WandaVision, Loki, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Each took a completely different direction from the other and was received with varying levels of approval, although each was equally instrumental to the future of the MCU, holding an imperativeness that Marvel’s previous television ventures lacked. Easily the least well-received show to kick off Phase 4 was The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. WandaVision was praised out of the gates to kick off a new era for Marvel, and Loki was welcomed as a slow-burn that paid proper homage to the fan-favorite antihero. TFATWS’s reception was much more lukewarm. Here’s why it was the most underrated series in MCU’s Phase 4.The first season follows Sam Wilson, the Falcon, and Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, dealing with the fallout directly following the events of Endgame. First and foremost, Wilson jostles with the idea of taking over the mantle of Captain America, passed on to him by Steve Rogers himself after he decided to remain in the past after returning each of the Infinity Stones to their original timelines. Partly due to the attachment to the shield and name’s former possessor, and also because of his worry that the United States would be unwelcoming to a Black Captain America, Sam declines the honor betrothed upon him, only for the government to anoint a less-than-ideal soldier with the mantle instead.

Meanwhile, Bucky works to rectify some of the sins he committed as a weaponized and hypnotized Hydra agent. Both have to work through these deeper issues while also dealing with the Flag Smashers, a group of radicals who believed the world was better off during the “Blip” — the five years in which the half of the population Thanos snapped away were nonexistent — that have secured a recreation of the super soldier serum that gave Rogers his powers and are using it to disrupt the world governments’ attempts to reintegrate the people that the Avengers brought back.

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